Finding new, Indigenous models of governance is emotionally charged work in the Anglican Church of Canada. That's why members of the Council of General Synod (COGS) received the Mississauga Declaration, a cry for self-determination, alongside other governance updates at its meeting Nov. 18 to 20.
"We affirm that God has a plan for us in the Gospel and that we must claim the freedom to become what God has called us to be," reads the 388-word declaration, penned by 32 Indigenous Anglican representatives at a September 2011 meeting in Mississauga, Ont.
The bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada met at the Mount Carmel Retreat Centre in Niagara Falls, Ont., Nov. 20 to 24. They have released the following statement.
The first few weeks of the Diocese of Saskatchewan Cycle of Prayer for 2012 can now be found on our website. Click here, or use the Resources menu at the top of the page.
The Anglican Journal is reporting that the Rev. Canon Virginia "Ginny" Doctor, a Mohawk from the Six Nations and canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal diocese of Alaska, is the new indigenous ministries coordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada.
I enjoy all our Christmas nativity scenes and carols but in their soft familiarity they may allow us to forget the harsh details of the birth of Jesus. In the idealized version Mary smiles, her hair is unruffled. She looks fresh as a daisy, unlike any newly delivered mother. Jesus is silent and still, clean and pink and happy unlike most newborns. But we need to think and imagine a little more accurately about the birth of Jesus.
“One of the great First Nations elders said, not long ago, “in former times, our enemies were famine, war, and disease. Now we struggle against alcoholism, suicide and poverty.” Suicide has become one of the great spiritual battles of our time. It is almost impossible to overstate the urgency and importance of this issue for Indigenous Peoples. For those who are a part of their communities, especially those who are called to serve in the Name of Jesus, this must be our priority. Our response will be the proof of our love and our faithfulness to the way of Jesus. If we have no response, we can claim neither love nor faithfulness. May God give us all the grace to turn this around." -- Reflection by National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald
In an Anglican Journal article on the recent meeting of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Primate is quoted sharing his concern that the Anglican Communion Covenant 'falls short of the gospel'.
Anglican covenant Section IV continues to be the sticking point in this document, designed to deal with dissent within the Anglican Communion. “There are no difficulties with sections I to III. The language sounds very relational and very Anglican,” said the archbishop. “Section IV also starts off relational but begins to sound juridical, and that creates a problem.” While upholding autonomy, this section also makes it clear that the exercise of autonomy has consequences. “My personal concern is what happens when the direction you move in is not in accordance with the standards of the communion. You’re out. It does not end on a note of restoration or hope, so I say it falls short of the Gospel,” Archbishop Hiltz said. A guide to navigating the covenant was posted last June on the church’s national website.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has published his Advent letter to the Primates of the Anglican Communion. In his letter he takes some time to defend the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant and the need for the moratoria.
"I continue to ask what alternatives there are if we want to agree on ways of limiting damage, managing conflict and facing with honesty the actual effects of greater disunity. In the absence of such alternatives, I must continue to commend the Covenant as strongly as I can to all who are considering its future.
These questions are made all the more sharp by the fact that the repeated requests for moratoria on problematic actions issued by various representative Anglican bodies are increasingly ignored. Strong conscientious convictions are involved here. No-one, I believe, acts out of a desire to deepen disunity; some believe that certain matters are more important than what they think of as a superficial unity. But the effects are often to deepen mutual mistrust, and this must surely be bad for our mission together as Anglicans, and alongside other Christians as well. The question remains: if the moratoria are ignored and the Covenant suspected, what are the means by which we maintain some theological coherence as a Communion and some personal respect and understanding as a fellowship of people seeking to serve Christ? And we should bear in mind that our coherence as a Communion is also a significant concern in relation to other Christian bodies – especially at a moment when the renewed dialogues with Roman Catholics and Orthodox have begun with great enthusiasm and a very constructive spirit."
The full text of his letter is attached.
As you plan your Christmas giving, consider supporting the mission of the church through the new, online Gifts for Mission gift guide. You can help fund a national youth ministry forum, boost the work of northern clergy, give hot lunches in Haiti, and much more. The 2011 gift guide of the Anglican Church of Canada reflects the vibrant ministries of General Synod and its partners: the Anglican Foundation and the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). Produced by the Resources for Mission Department of the national church, Gifts for Mission builds on the success of the first guide in 2010 and responds to those who would like to expand their gift giving, including more items for children.